Voicemail Is So Last Century

News that will play merry havoc with the minds of those wondering why he/she never called back, even though it seemed like such a great date: More than 30 percent of voicemail messages go unlistened to for three or more days, reports the company that runs the system for Verizon and other wireless carriers, with more than 20 percent of people "rarely" dialing in to check their messages. Yup, voicemail is desperately unfashionable, having been upstaged by email, texting, and even Twittering, not least because the arduous process of calling a number, entering a password, and listening to someone ramble on takes way too long.

Naturally, companies are capitalizing on our aversion to the sound of human voices by providing new ways of getting messages: You can now get your voicemails automatically transcribed as text messages, and Google is about to introduce a service that will call all a person's voicemails—office, home, cell—gather them together and, if you wish, send them as texts.

But until everyone subscribes to such services, we should all bear in mind that speaking after the beep, however urgent/charming/amusing your words might be, not only demonstrates your tragic uncoolness, but is potentially a big waste of time. 24-year-old Tim Kassouf from Baltimore, for example, currently has 62 unheard voicemails in his cellphone. So if Tim hasn't returned your call, don't take it personally—he's just too zeitgeisty to even care who's trying to reach him.

You've Got Voice Mail, but Do You Care? [NYT]